Are you ready for this?
Along the theme of "you will be made to care" (TM) and in the wake of the downfall of DOMA and Prop 8 comes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which just passed the out of committee in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 15-7.
What is this bill, you ask? Oh it's nothing serious... just a bill that will make transgendered and transsexual persons a protected class, eligible for quotas and protecting them from being "discriminated" against in places such as schools, hospitals, and the like.
Yes... this is what the Democrats in the U.S. Senate believe to be important to the survival of Western civilization, and woe to those who oppose ENDA with even the whiff of something that approximates sound thinking or common sense. This is Washington after all -- suspend your disbelief!
As you've probably guessed, the whole point of ENDA has precious little to do with anti-discrimination policies. Rather, it has everything to do with one simple creed -- forcing employers, schools, hospitals, and parents to accept transgenders and transsexuals. No matter where that place is.
Employers -- whether they have a religious charter or not -- can in most cases decide for themselves whether such attitudes conform to the workplace. Under ENDA, not only would transgenders and transsexuals take on the status of a protected class, the distance from this to filling quotas is but a short leap.
Take another instance inside the classroom. Today, a classroom full of 1st graders might not exactly be the place for Mr. Jones to become Mrs. Jones. Principals and parents would rightly take issue with not only being forced to explain this condition to their children, but the propriety of someone bringing their own personal sexual preferences (and expression thereof) into the teaching environment.
ENDA would, at a stroke, trump the rights of parents to be able to choose the environment in which their children will be taught -- long held as a prerogative of parents alone, now a power arrogated by the government in an effort to mainstream transgenders and transsexual behavior.
This is the new America.
There have been many voices in the debate over homosexuality in America, ranging from prosecuting it by law to a nonchalance that the vast mainstream of Americans feel. Moreover, while a majority of Americans may not personally care what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms, the personal and private faiths of many simply do not condone the homosexual act as moral. This does not make them "enemies of the human race" as so eloquently stated by Justice Scalia, but rather individuals who are perpetuating long-held and long-standing ideas on sexual ethics with very serious and profound moral and philosophical underpinnings.
But like most things, the homosexual/transgender movement would much rather prefer to discuss ENDA in its own terms. Concerned about ENDA? Might as well be a racist. Parental rights? Sounds like 1960s Mississippi to me. Catholic or evangelical? Hater. In short, the comparisons to segregation run long, the consideration for the other side of the argument extremely thin, and at the end of the day it is not "tolerance" that this movement requires, but rather acceptance -- state-enforced, government-mandated, the bureaucratic imprimatur of a low-level functionary requirement to submit.
You. Will. Be. Made. To. Care.
Peel back all the other argumentation and this is the crux of the argument. Those aligned with the Human Rights Council and the ACLU are well beyond mere toleration. Acceptance at the end of a judge's gavel and a French-style j'accuse! directed at those who fail to toe the line.
The voices that have been raised against ENDA are quickly and efficiently dispatched, not only by those media outlets whose sole purpose is to cause dissension in the ranks of conservatives, but by anyone seeking to moderate their image to appear somehow rational through mental diffusion. Andrea Lafferty over at Traditional Values Coalition has been the tip of the spear when it comes to quashing the most virulent and absurd of the leftist dogma, and she has taken the slings and arrows most major Washington outlets would refuse to absorb.
ENDA has long been a target of Lafferty's -- every few years it gets new life; every few years Lafferty shows the backbone others lack and puts a spotlight on ENDA's impact on children -- and ENDA slinks away.
This time, individuals such as Senators Murkowski, Kirk (who co-sponsored ENDA), and incredulously Orrin Hatch all backed ENDA in committee -- thus allowing a bill that 10 years ago would have never seen the light of day leak onto the floor of the same U.S. Senate that harbored such greats as Webster, Sumner, and Clay. If they could only see the U.S. Senate now...
Here's the kicker: ENDA isn't about non-discrimination at all. It's about force, and the use of government to obtain that force, to use against businesses whose personal values and ethics conflict with the values of the Human Rights Campaign and the ACLU. It's about the use of force to compel religious individuals to hire and retain those who would bring their sexuality in to the workplace. It's the use of force to require school children to sit and watch as their formerly male teacher transforms themselves into something very different than what nature intended.
That is the crux of the argument right there. ENDA has nothing to do with discrimination; it has everything to do with the coercive power of government being used to transform American culture.
ENDA makes no sense outside of Washington. It is a lobbyists dream and a working class American's bewilderment. As if Washington didn't have enough problems, is this really the focus of the Democratic-controlled Senate when we're almost $17 trillion in debt and spending $1.5 trillion more than we're bringing in? Is the extreme social agenda of a extreme few really the only thing going in Washington nowadays?
The facts on ENDA are pretty clear. Not only are religious liberties and personal conscience clearly at risk by ENDA, the rights of parents to protect and raise their children are placed in jeopardy as well. Assurances that the rights of conscience and religious liberty are protected under ENDA are paper thin, easily granted by government fiat and easily revoked when ENDA's proponents feel enough strength to impose their will.
Simply put, ENDA has no protections for conscience... because that's not what ENDA is designed to do.
Rather than being so focused on using the power of the government to force acceptance on American society, members of the U.S. Senate would be wise -- and perhaps even courageous -- to stand tall and make sure ENDA is filibustered. Just five Senators stand between ENDA's defeat and a commitment to reinforce the barricades Justice Scalia so artfully threw up in his dissenting opinion in United States v. Windsor, or have one of the oddest and most culturally abrasive bills ever to be proffered to pass out of the U.S. Senate -- where hopefully it will meet a swift and deserved death in the U.S. House.
Our businesses deserve better. Common sense deserves better. Our children deserve better than ENDA.
Let's hope our Senators are up to the challenge.